Essential South Island

Ref: 4024483

Swim with dusky dolphins in Kaikoura

Queenstown, Franz Josef, Christchurch, Kaikoura, Blenheim,

Includes return economy airfares

15 days priced at £pp flight and hotel inclusive

Tailor-made Journey

15 days from £pp

Essential South Island Holiday

Short on time but still want to cover the very best of New Zealand’s South Island?


Then this is the Journey for you.  You’ll get the most out of the spectacular mountain ranges, creeping glaciers, sun-drenched vineyards and varied wildlife found in this naturally beautiful region, plus spend time in the island’s main city, Christchurch, all in a little over two weeks.

Some of the highlights included are:

  • Set sail on a relaxing cruise on Milford Sound
  • Admire the terminal face of the Franz Josef Glacier
  • Swim with dusky dolphins in Kaikoura
  • Soak up the mountain scenery from the iconic TranzAlpine Train

Holiday Type

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Wildlife & Nature
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What's included

  • International flights
  • 11 nights in 4-5* hotels
  • 11 days car hire
  • Milford Sound cruise
  • Franz Josef Glacier Walk
  • Dolphin Encounter in Kaikoura
  • TranzAlpine Train from Greymouth to Christchurch

Need to know

  • Arrives: Queenstown Airport (ZQN)
  • Time difference: GMT+13
  • Visa requirements: British passport holders do not require a visa
  • Language: English and Maori
  • Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD)
  • Flying time from UK: around 27 hours
  • Plug type: 3-prong flat blade plug
  • Voltage: 240 volts/50 cycles

Your route



Days 1-2

Fly from UK to Queenstown

Days 3-5


Get your adrenaline pumping in thrill-seeking Queenstown. White knuckle adventures are the order of the day in this pretty lakeside town - choose from skydiving, jetboating, bungee jumping and skiing. If that’s not your bag you can take a relaxing walk along the lakeshore and try out the quirky cafés, or just sit back and admire the mountain views. While you’re here, spend a day among the cliffs, peaks and waterfalls of pretty Milford Sound, and look out for dolphins, seals and penguins.

5* Peppers Beacon Milford Sound day trip
Essential South Island Holiday

Days 6-7

Franz Josef

Grab your hiking boots and set off on a relaxed hike along the Waiho River bed, following the path of the Franz Josef Glacier as it carves its way through the forest. Learn all about the glacier’s formation and the Maori legends surrounding its origins. As you get closer to the ice, you’ll have a great view of the twisted blue formations of the frozen terminal face. After your walk, you might like to relax your tired feet in the nearby natural hot pools.

4.5* on Cron Motel Glacier Valley Walk
Essential South Island Holiday

Days 8-9


Take the scenic route from Greymouth to Christchurch on the TranzAlpine train, crossing deep gorges, gushing rivers, snow-capped mountains and thick forest along the way. On arrival into pretty Christchurch, take some time to explore the city’s green spaces and gardens, and perhaps hire a bike or take a punting trip on the River Avon. For something a bit different, don your gloves and scarf and head to the International Antarctic Centre, where you can learn more about the harsh conditions on this icy continent.

4.5* Peppers Clearwater Resort TranzAlpine Train from Greymouth to Christchurch
Essential South Island Holiday

Days 10-11


Drive on to Kaikoura, whose nutrient rich waters attract a wide variety of marine wildlife. Look out for whales, dolphins, seals, albatross and shearwaters and if you’re lucky, a penguin or two. Later, set sail on the calm waters around the town and search for the inquisitive dusky dolphin. Once you’ve found the pod, choose to dive in and swim alongside these amazing creatures or just watch in awe from the boat.

4* White Morph Dolphin Encounter
Essential South Island Holiday

Days 12-13


Take in the pretty vineyards of Blenheim, the largest town in the famous Marlborough wine-growing region. Here you can taste your way around the many world-class wineries, sampling the excellent Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. It’s not just about the wine though, as there are museums and art galleries to amuse you too, as well as hiking trails in the pretty Wither Hills. Be sure to try one of the many gourmet restaurants while you’re here, with wines to match of course.

4.5* Scenic Hotel Marlborough
Essential South Island Holiday

Days 14-15

Depart Blenheim and return to the UK

Book Now

price from £2849pp for travel up to 11 months in advance
This journey can be tailor-made by our experts to suit your plan or budget.

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Round the World Experts offer superior travel experiences, have a global team,
and over 40 years of experience as part of the Flight Centre Travel Group.

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